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ETSU senior Boyd carries different mentality, makeup into season

Joe Avento • Oct 6, 2019 at 3:46 AM

JOHNSON CITY — Ask Tray Boyd III if he’s ready for a big senior year and the shooting guard on the East Tennessee State men’s basketball team is quick to answer.

“I’m way more ready than I was last year,” Boyd says.

He said it with a smile, too, and that’s a huge step in the right direction, something Bucs coach Steve Forbes has noticed during the offseason.

“I think his whole mentality, his whole makeup is different,” Forbes said. “He’s made a big transformation, as big as any player that I’ve coached. Not just his game, but his mental preparation. I’ve been proud of him. He’s got it figured out and it has to carry over the court. So far, it has.”

Forbes put the team through an open workout on Saturday while about 100 fans looked on at the university’s Center for Physical Activity.

“Everybody showed some flashes of what they can do,” Forbes said. “I like the fact that we can really score in a lot of different ways. We still have to defend the 3-point line and make free throws. Those could be the things that could cost us games and championships.”

Boyd was the Bucs’ leading scorer last year, averaging 12.2 points per game, but he expects to play an even bigger role this year. He started only eight games last year.

“I’m excited for my senior year,” Boyd said. “They’re pushing me off the court and on the court. I’m ready.”

So far in the preseason, Boyd’s shot has been noticeably sharp. He’s gone long periods without missing from 3-point range, which is good considering he and Patrick Good both shot 223 times from behind the arc last year. Boyd made 82 and Good made 87.

“I’ve been working every day on it,” Boyd said. “Working on it, shooting the ball. Coach always tells me to play off my shot, keep it simple. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

The Bucs open the season Nov. 6 with a home game against Newberry.

The Southern Conference’s media day is scheduled for Monday in Asheville, North Carolina, and the league’s preseason polls will come out that day. ETSU is a decent bet to be ranked No. 1.

HEALTH REPORT

Good was a full participant in the workout, going full speed and showing no ill effects from his offseason hip surgery.

Forward Jeromy Rodriguez, who watched from the sideline, remains out after undergoing foot surgery.

“I hoping maybe this coming week he can get out there and see how it goes,” Forbes said. “We’re not going to do anything to hurt him. We’ve got to get him out there.”

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